How you sleep has an effect on numerous things:
- your energy and activity level during the day
- your mood
- your overall health
- your weight (more about sleep and weight loss)
So be good to yourself and treat your body and mind a bit better by having a good night’s sleep. Take a look at these tips on how to sleep better:
35 tips on how to sleep better
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1. Sleep in the dark
Sleep in a dark bedroom. Buy blackout curtains if you need to and turn off all equipment that have lights on that might affect your sleep.
If you aren’t able to totally darken your bedroom, wear an eye mask.
2. Make your bedroom a place where you can rest
Bedroom should be used for sleep (well, and sex). Don’t work, eat or watch TV in your bedroom. Keep it tidy and make it beautiful.
3. No more sips of caffeine after 2 pm
Don’t have any caffeine (coffee, teas, energy or soft drinks that contain caffeine) after 2 pm. Caffeine will stay in your body for at least 5 – 6 hours.
4. Be consistent with your sleeping schedule
Everyone loves a good weekend lie-in but if you can go to sleep and wake up at the same time during the weekend as you would during weekdays. Otherwise you’ll confuse your biological clock.
5. Exhaust yourself to better sleep
Do some exercise! It doesn’t matter what time you do your exercise and what exercise you do as long as you do it. You will have more energy on daytime and sleep better at night.
Some people find it difficult to sleep if they exercise just before bedtime whereas for others it makes no difference. See what works for you.
6. No heavy meals in the evening
Don’t eat heavy (greasy or too much) food just before bedtime. You might find it difficult to fall asleep – and you might get heart burn.
7. Don’t try to sleep hungry
Trying to fall asleep hungry is as bad as going to sleep after a feast. Eat something light with protein and fat rather than carbohydrates.
8. Avoid alcohol before going to bed
I know, a glass of red wine relaxes after a long day at work but make sure you have some with your dinner just after work rather than later in the evening. While alcohol does make you tired it also affects the quality of your sleep.
9. Don’t drink a lot just before bedtime
You need to make sure you drink enough water. Just make sure you don’t drink it all in the evening as you’re about to go and get some sleep or you’ll wake up at night to go to the bathroom.
10. Make your nighttime visits to bathroom in the dark
If you need to go to the bathroom at night, try to find ways to not turn on the lights. You could try to use a night light either in the hallway or in the bathroom if you go to bathroom at night regularly.
11. Silence your phone
Turn your phone to silent if you need to sleep a bit longer to avoid waking up to phone calls or texts.
12. Take a hot bath or shower
Take a shower or bath before going to bed. Your body temperature will rise in the warm shower or bath and the cool down afterwards will relax your body.
13. Use muscle relaxation techniques
This is a technique I’ve used as long as I remember: When you find it difficult to sleep just go through your entire body, starting from your toes. Tense all your muscles in your toes for a little while and then release. As you relax your muscles think that those muscles you were tense just seconds ago are now so very relaxed and heavy. After toes move onto your ankles, then calves etc.
14. Use breathing techniques
There’s an old Indian 4-7-8 breathing technique that goes like this:
Breath in through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath while counting to seven. Breath out through you mouth while you count to eight. Repeat.
15. Avoid screens before bed
Don’t sit on your computer or look at any other screens just before bed time. Close them at least an hour before going to bed. They will keep you awake for two reasons:
- you won’t notice how fast the time goes by and you’ll end up staying up later than you planned
- the blue light will make it difficult to fall asleep.
16. Read a book
Read a real book, not an eBook. Remember, you need to stay away from the screen.
17. Don’t take long naps during the day
If you need a nap, set your alarm to wake you up in 20 minutes. That’s enough to make it through the afternoon slump and also get the other health benefits of napping.
18. Don’t think about work or stress about anything else either
Well, that’s easier said than done. However, there’s no need to worry about what’s happened at work today or what will happen tomorrow. If you have a lot to do at work, write them down before you leave work or at least before going to bed.
If you start remembering things that you should do while you are trying to sleep, write them down on a note on your bedside so you don’t have to think about them anymore. You should write down any other thoughts as well if you just keep thinking about them over and over again when you should be sleeping.
Try to learn some relaxation techniques for stress relief.
This might sound weird but some people have found white noise helps them fall asleep. Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose 🙂
19. Don’t force sleep
If you don’t fall asleep in 15 minutes, do something else for a while and then try again. If you have trouble sleeping you might start to stress about not falling asleep. Do something that relaxes you and then try again.
20. Sleep in a cool room
Keep the temperature in the bedroom cool. The typical recommendation is to keep the temperature at 65 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 – 22 degrees Celsius, but you should choose a temperature you feel comfortable at.
30. Sleep naked
This is actually related to sleeping in a cool room: When you sleep naked you will feel cooler – and there are other benefits to sleeping naked as well.
31. Change your bed linen regularly
Falling asleep is easier when you feel comfortable. It feels wonderful to go to sleep when the sheets and pillowcases smell and feel fresh.
32. Find the right pillow
If you sleep in your side and keep your arm under your pillow it probably means that your pillows aren’t high enough. You are subconsciously trying to lift your pillow by placing your arm under the it.
If you feel hot at night and find it difficult to sleep try turning your pillow over. The pillow will feel cooler against your head for a while.
If you are a side sleeper and want to add some support to your spine and hips, you should purchase a body pillow and see if it helps you sleep better.
33. Is your bed good enough?
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, suffer from pain in your back or feel uncomfortable when you wake up in the morning it might be a good time to consider buying a new mattress.
34. Meditate yourself to sleep
There are several meditation techniques that you could try to fall asleep. Mind Body Green has a list of five meditations that could help you sleep better
35. Melatonin might help you
If you have trouble falling asleep you could try melatonin pills. Melatonin is a hormone your body produces naturally so it is in general quite a safe supplement. It has some side effects though and it can interact with medications so you should always speak with your doctor before you start using it.
Remember that if you feel tired even though you sleep well at night you should check your diet (I’m sleeping a lot better now that I’m on Whole30) and go and see a doctor – just to check there are no underlying problems.
Share with us your tips on how to sleep better!